BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – First-year head coach Tyson Helton has announced his first wave
of coaching hires as he works to put together his staff and get on the recruiting
Helton will also retain a number of WKU assistant coaches and support staff who were
with the program previously in 2018, aiming to build continuity in a variety of
“From the beginning, we wanted this coaching staff to be comprised of men who can
not only be excellent teachers for our student-athletes but also great mentors and
motivators,” Helton said. “I believe we have accomplished that to this point in the
process. Our offensive staff will bring an exciting brand of football back to The
Hill, and our defensive staff is comprised of veterans who have the total trust of
Bryan Ellis, who previously coached a number of offensive positions on The Hill
including running backs (2015) and wide receivers (2016), returns to WKU with Helton
after two seasons at the University of Southern California where he worked with the
quarterbacks, including the 2018 season as the Trojans’ quarterbacks coach.
Ellis will serve as WKU’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
In his final game on The Hill, the 2016 Boca Raton Bowl, Ellis called the offensive
plays and directed the Hilltoppers to a school bowl record 51 points and 262 rushing
yards. The game also included a lateral pass to All-American left tackle Forrest
Lamp resulting in a touchdown and a fake kneel down just before halftime. The fake
kneel down drew even more national attention to WKU and was mimicked by the New
England Patriots in Super Bowl LI, a play head coach Bill Belichick referred to as
“Hilltopper” on the postgame broadcast.
In his wide receiver room during the 2016 season, Ellis’ two primary pupils, Taywan
Taylor and Nicholas Norris, capped their incredible careers as the No. 1 and No. 2
wideouts in school history. WKU was one of just two teams that season to feature a
pair of players with 1,300-plus receiving yards, and WKU’s offense was the first in
FBS history to have a 4,000-yard receiver, a 4,000-yard rusher, and a 3,000-yard
receiver, for their careers, on the same roster.
Defensive coordinator Clayton White will continue in his that role under Helton as
will linebackers coach Maurice Crum, defensive ends coach Jimmy Lindsey, and
defensive tackles coach Kenny Martin. On the other side of the ball, offensive line
coach TJ Woods returns for a second season working with a line that was measurably
improved since he took over prior to the 2018 season.
Head strength and conditioning coach Jason Veltkamp and Assistant Athletic Director
for Football Operations Nick Uhlenhopp also return as do recruiting staffers Zach
Grant and Taylor Brown.